September 20, 2021

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Lincoln Park Zoo names scientist Megan Ross as its 1st feminine president, CEO

4 min read

Increasing up in Atlanta, Megan Ross put in every spare second climbing trees, hunting underneath rocks and observing creatures in the pond down the avenue from her house.

Wintertime visits to her grandparents’ put in New Hampshire intended hrs staring out a window at a active chook feeder and snowshoeing to a close by beaver lodge.

The encounters established Ross on a path that achieved new heights Wednesday when Lincoln Park Zoo introduced she will develop into its future president and main executive officer.

The appointment marks two firsts in the zoo’s 153-yr background: initially feminine to guide the zoo and first scientist in that position.

“When I imagine about currently being the 1st woman scientist leader at the zoo, what I feel about is maybe some younger young children out there could know if you love animals there’s a lot of diverse job paths. Not all of them are becoming a veterinarian. You can do tons of various matters these as what I did, which was analyze animal habits,” Ross advised the Chicago Sunlight-Situations.

But there is yet another degree of relevance, she acknowledged.

“The zoo discipline, in basic, has a significant proportion of women in it,” Ross stated. “For illustration, at Lincoln Park Zoo, I consider we’re 68% feminine, and so when you are in an field or a field exactly where there’s a great deal of feminine illustration, I would have envisioned there would be much more woman illustration in the best ranges of zoos and aquariums. And there are lots of women who are leaders of zoos and aquariums, but I would say it is absolutely not reflective of how lots of ladies are truly in the field. I think we nonetheless have a minor bit of a strategies to go there.”

Ross, who currently runs day-to-day functions at the zoo, officially normally takes the reins Jan. 1 from her longtime mentor, Kevin Bell, who’s 69 and designs to retire.

Bell’s departure will be a loss. He’s been with Lincoln Park Zoo for 45 several years. Possessing generally developed up on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo, where his father worked, Bell is familiar with the job in a way couple many others can.

But Bell has no question that Ross, correct out of the gate, will be greater at the position than he was when he took above in 1995.

Kevin Bell, who is retiring as Lincoln Park Zoo president and CEO

Kevin Bell
Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoological Modern society, the nonprofit that runs the absolutely free zoo, deemed a nationwide look for for a new leader but concluded it was not needed.

“We realized we couldn’t get anyone better,” Bell said. “She is a science nerd but has the capacity of chatting to non-scientists. And the hard issue for any head of a nonprofit is, you have to be equipped to relate very well to donors, and she’s obtained the temperament that will do that really perfectly.”

C. John Mostofi, board chairman of the culture, reported “We could not be a lot more proud of the range.”

Ross received her doctorate from the Ga Institute of Technologies following conducting a research on the outcomes of ultraviolet light on bird habits (birds see ultraviolet mild as a fourth principal coloration that human beings do not).

She bought her “dream job” in 2000 as Lincoln Park Zoo’s curator of birds and quickly following experienced an “Aha!” second although listening to animal keepers argue about penguin aggression and whether extra rocks ought to be included to the habitat when it was not breeding year.

“You know, we could analyze that,” Ross instructed the keepers. “We could obtain information when they really don’t have the rocks and when they do have the rocks and see if there is additional aggression,” she claimed. “And it was that moment that genuinely designed me sense like I experienced a good deal to give Lincoln Park Zoo and the zoo neighborhood in how I was approaching how we cared for animals.”

Ross, 47, life in Evanston with her husband, Steve their 14-calendar year-old daughter and 17-calendar year-outdated son and two dogs.

Steve Ross is a primatologist who oversees Lincoln Park Zoo’s conservation do the job and investigation about chimpanzees and gorillas.

“He’s pretty fascinated in how animals are comparable to human beings, and I’m really intrigued in how animals are so unique from us,” Megan Ross stated.

Her other pursuits include reading (at this time a murder secret novel), mountaineering, lying in a hammock in her property, needlepoint and viewing Marvel superhero displays with her loved ones.

As for Bell, he’s likely to acquire an “honest-to-goodness vacation” following he retires.

Significantly of his former journey consisted of heading on safari with zoo donors.

“It’s been a great life,” he mentioned.

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